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Dublin calls after cup semi-finals

By Ian Callender

Waringstown and Civil Service are Ulster's last hope of success in this year's Irish Senior Cup but before they head south on Sunday with bus-loads of supporters in tow, they have another final in their sights.

It is Ulster Bank Challenge Cup semi-final day tomorrow with holders CSN at home to Instonians and the team they beat in last year's decider away to CIYMS in a fascinating clash which offers the chance of revenge to both teams.

The Villagers knocked out CI at this stage last year while the Belmont club, who have home advantage tomorrow, won the Twenty20 Cup final between the teams in Waringstown's own back yard just 12 days ago.

"We were missing 2-3 players that day and that cost us," says skipper Lee Nelson, and while James Hall, our leading runs scorer, who injured himself in the semi-final is still out, Gary Kidd is back and always ties up an end between overs 10 and 30.

"As for Clontarf, I don't think we could have been given a tougher game. But we are sure of massive support because the club has no other game on Sunday so a bus and many cars will be going to the game.

CSN will have newly-wed Jason van der Merwe in a full-strength line-up for both their cup ties with Andrew Cowden hoping to take advantage of the absence of an Instonians overseas player - new professional Fahad Iqbal was signed too late for the competition - but is expecting an exciting match.

"Games between the teams have usually been close in recent years but they are Premier League champions and if they start favourites I am happy with that but it's not always the big name players who are the match-winners but I think it will be a good game of cricket," says Cowden.

On Sunday, CSN are away to Leinster and the captain insists they will travel with confidence.

"Home advantage can be important in the Irish Cup but they have beaten Carrickfergus and Muckamore in close games so it proves they keep fighting to the end but we've a good record in the competition and reached the semi-final in 2013, so will be hoping to repeat that - at least.

Tomorrow: Ulster Bank Challenge Cup semi-finals (12.00): CIYMS v Waringstown, Civil Service North v Instonians

Ulster Bank League Section One: Downpatrick v Cliftonville, Lurgan v Donacloney (12.00), Templepatrick v Derriaghy, Woodvale v Bangor. Sunday: Cliftonville v Bangor, Templepatrick v Academy, Woodvale v Muckamore (12.00)

Section Two: Armagh v Larne, BISC v Laurelvale, Cregagh v Victoria (12.00), Dundrum v Saintfield, Holywood v Drumaness. Sunday: Cregagh v Dundrum, Drumaness v Armagh (12.00)

Section Three: Ards v Donaghadee, Dungannon v Newforge, Millpark v Dunmurry, Monaghan v Cooke Collegians

Sunday: Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: Clontarf v Waringstown, Leinster v Civil Service North, Malahide v Pembroke, North County v Merrion

Irish National Cup quarter-final: Rush v Derriaghy

Ulster Bank Premier League: Instonians v Carrickfergus

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